Branch History

In 1983, after two quite separate fund raising events had been held in West Dorset, the Branches Development Officer for the South West set out to see if a new branch was feasible. A public meeting in Weymouth raised some interest, but progress was slow. A group of people had come from the Bridport area but felt that Weymouth was too far afield for them to attend the meetings on a regular basis. This splinter group left to form the Bridport Branch, which was inaugurated in 1985, serving the western part of West Dorset. The remaining group, based in Weymouth and Dorchester, had a series of Convenors, as deteriorating health forced first one and then another to retire from post.

In 1987, when the latest Convener was forced to resign through family illness, a nurse, who had moved into the area and joined the group, contacted and/or visited all known addresses of interested people. Meetings were held in the Staff Recreation Hall at Weymouth and District Hospital, but the small group seemed to be somewhat lost in these surroundings. Although catering facilities were adequate, parking close to the hall presented a real difficulty. New premises were found in the more comfortable Residents' Lounge at Bincombe Court. It was also decided to take some meetings to Dorchester. The branch was finally inaugurated in September 1989.

In 1994, to increase the area served, the Resources Lounge at the new Day Centre Day Centre facility in Dorchester became a regular meeting on the 4th Friday of the month whilst retaining use of the accommodation at Littlemoor on the 2nd Monday of the month. Members now attend from within a radius of approximately 12 miles of each centre and numbers can be up to 20 at either venue. Fund raising has also grown and the branch's income rose from 600 in 1987 to an expected 16000 this year

More recently the branch has been able to help with the purchase and loan of equipment to members at home eg Lifeline alarm call systems, speech aids and wheelchairs for short-term loan. Overall membership of the branch has risen to 150. At initial contact a home visit is usually arranged and literature offered with appropriate information about services from both statutory and voluntary sources. Referrals are made if required.

Parkinson's UK is the operating name of the Parkinson's Disease Society of the United Kingdom. A registered charity in England and Wales (258197) and in Scotland (SC037554). Registered office: 215 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1EJ.

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